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Potties and Underpants

Before the Pookie was born, the Pumpkin had been interested in the potty. I think we could have pushed it then, but with the baby coming we did not think it was a good time. Then she went into her recent regression, which included potty training/diaper changing regression. When we tried to encourage the potty by asking if she needed/wanted to go, we mostly got "No, thanks" or some variation of screaming no. She was perfectly happy to sit in her wet diaper. She WANTED to be in a peed in diaper. She WANTED it to leak. She told us these things in no uncertain terms.

Our response of course was too bad. You can't stay in a pee diaper and WE do not want it to leak. So if she wasn't going to use the potty, we were at least going to change her diaper. Even if she screamed the whole time. Ah, parenthood...

This was frustrating because at school she'd been using the potty all the time. At home? Forgetaboutit. Except right before bed, but that had been part of the bedtime routine since she was 10 months old when we found out it was much easier for her to poop when sitting on the potty.

We thought it must be a problem of motivation. We tried putting her in underwear, hoping that would get her excited to use the potty. But no, that just made sure we'd have leaks and clean ups. More recently, we tried bribing encouraging by using chocolates as incentive, and that actually was mostly working.

Over the last week, a few things (in addition to the chocolates rewards) converged to make potty training the Pumpkin not only possible, but a good idea.

1. The Pumpkin's school had requested that she start wearing underwear to school. She is always using the potty there, and apparently she's keeping her pullups dry in between. They think she's ready. We told her about it, and she was excited.

2. We've stopped asking and started telling her that it's time to go potty. A couple weeks ago I was talking with my sister, and she mentioned that she noticed we ask the Pumpkin questions which can create conflict when some things aren't up for discussion. She said that she and her husband had been doing that too, but things have improved since they stopped asking and started telling. So I told the Pumpkin that just like at school, when we say it's time to go potty, it's time to go. We aren't asking anymore. (We have tried this before, especially for the potty, but it did not work at the time, which brings me to the next item...)

3. She's just ready. I can't say it better than Karen did in a recent post when she said her potty training theory, "It's easier to wait until a child is ready than to fight them until they're ready." Because we were fighting with her and struggling with this... and then... she was ready. And it's been pretty darn easy.

4. The blizzard(s) had kept us all house bound for over a week. No pressures of holidays, no worries that we need to find bathrooms in public places. Just all of us at home for a week with a child who was ready for potty training and excited about wearing underwear to school. One of us was able to bring her to the bathroom every 1.5 to 2 hours, all day long. This was good timing!

5. I think one of the biggest issues for my girl was the transition, so we've been working on that in many areas. For the potty training, this means actually getting her into the bathroom and on the potty. If we force her, she just screams and doesn't go--until she's got her pants back on. But if we can get her there and on the potty, she will usually go right off, no problems. So we are trying to give her time to get ready for the transition, as in we are going to the potty after we put this away or right before dinner or in 2 minutes. Also, in an effort to keep up with the playful parenting, I've been physically taking her to the potty in fun ways. I ask her if she wants to be carried to the potty right side up or upside down (her answer is always upside down), or tell her she's a sack of potatoes and I need to throw her over my shoulder. This morning, she said she wanted to be carried like a giraffe, so we stuck our necks out and I walked stiff-legged like a giraffe.

On Monday, I bought her lots of new underwear. She is loving the underwear and is excited to pick out a pair each morning. She is excited to put them on and wear them to school. She is still in pullups at night, but she's okay with that and we are okay with that. Over the last 5 days, she had two accidents, both of which were yesterday evening. Poor Londo had both kids, and the Pumpkin was just being a handful. But other than that, she is doing great!

We are excited that she's growing up, that we don't have to change as many diapers and that our grocery bill is going to be reduced!


Becoming Mommy said…
That's great! Congrats on your success!

I keep waiting for someone to catch on to #2s. He has no problem with the potty for #1s. None. But man, he seems to enjoy sitting in the patty.
electriclady said…
Congratulations! We had a similar experience--long, grueling, struggle over potty training for months and months, and then it all was done in a week. I sometimes wonder what if we had just waited until that week...but no, that way lies regret and madness. ;) We went a whole month with no accidents, then this last week some regressing with a bunch of accidents, but on the whole I am SO HAPPY we finally got there. (She's still in a pullup at night, but I don't care.) And I'm so delighted to skip all the bargain blog posts about diaper sales!
hush said…
Congrats Caramama! It's a process. You are so smart for putting Pumpkin on the potty to poop starting at 10 mos! Our DS refuses to poop on the potty, so we are going to wait on it. If I could only turn back time, I'd have started a lot sooner with the potty learning so we could avoid these hilarious 2 yr old power struggles.
paola said…

I started potty/toilet training my kids around when I was finding dry nappies in the morning. In my daughters case just before 2.5 and with my son at 2 and 9 months. Both trained almost immediately beacuse it was the right moment. I had tried earlier with my boy, before he was waking with dry nappies, but I gave up after a day of him peeing like a puppy everywhere.

I never popped them on the toiilet any earlier than this and they trained without any trouble. Of course everyone is different, but I don't think starting earlier would have necessarily helped your son. Boys aren't as fast as girls
in this department either, I have found.
Cloud said…
Potty training is one of my least favorite things I've done so far as a mother. And our daughter is doing great at it, really. I just find it annoying, and that it provides another opportunity for her to be stubborn. She's clearly ready- 95% of the time, there's no problem. But oh, that 5%....

Good luck! I hope your success continues.

@hush- the statistics I saw indicated that starting serious training (not just "here's the potty. Want to use it?" sort of stuff) before 2 years old correlated with an INCREASED chance of still being training well after 3. Starting sometime between 2.5 and 3 correlated with a greater chance of being all trained by 3. Hang in there. Everyone poops on the potty eventually....
hush said…
@Paola - Thank you for that - sounds like you paid attention to your kids' signals and found the opportune times to train them. Hopefully we can do the same!

@Cloud - I have heard similar stats, although I have also heard stats suggesting that "non-serious" potty learning before 24 months results in most being out of daytime diapers by 3. (Nighttime is an entirely different issue, and some kids don't achieve dryness at night until age 7+). I'm just thinking about how hard 27mos + is supposed to be developmentally (if you believe Isabela Grancic's research as I do), so it seems to me that opportune times for some kids might be 1) before 27 mos or 2) after 3 years but before 3.5 years?

Yes, everyone is different, boys take longer I'm sure, and thankfully you're right that everyone poops on the potty eventually... except when running marathons but that's another story for another day. ;)
caramama said…
@Becoming Mommy - Thanks. I hope your boy catches on to #2s soon. It's SO much easier to clean up when they plop them in the potty.

@electriclady - Ah, the wondering and second guessing. That way does indeed lie madness. Yeah for going a whole month!

@hush - Oh the hilarious 2 year old power struggles. Yes, those just brighten my days. You hear/read the sarcasm, right? We still get them, over all sorts of things. What can you do. I had actually hoped that the no-pressure potty use early on would make the whole potty training/learning phase easier. Overall, I don't think it did. And now I'm dying to hear about pooping while running a marathon?

@paola - I've also heard that waiting until they are dry overnight works for some kids. It's nice to hear from someone who had no trouble with the potty training!

@Cloud - Thanks! I hear ya on that 5%, though. Ugh. I also heard about pushing the potty making them take longer. And any time I really pushed, she sure did push back. Timing was everything for my girl! Hope your girl (and mine) is 100% soon!

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